Alex Trebek Nearly Brings Eighth Grader to Tears

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Last week, during Kids Week on “Jeopardy!”, Alex Trebek almost caused an eighth grader to break down in tears after he misspelled “Emancipation Proclamation” during the Final Jeopardy round.

Eighth grader from Newtown, Connecticut, Thomas Hurley III, says he was cheated out of $3,000 after he misspelled the word “Emancipation”. The question that was given to Hurley was, “Abraham Lincoln called this document, which took effect in 1863, ‘a fit and necessary war measure.’” He answered correctly, but included an extra “t” in the word, spelling it “emanciptation”.

Hurley bet $3,000 of his $9,600 winnings, and although he was far from winning the game show, he is still upset and feels that he was cheated out of the money. “I was pretty upset that I was cheated out of the final Jeopardy! question,” he told The News-Times of Danbury. “It was just a spelling error.” Hurley took home $2,000 for placing second.

Hurley’s father isn’t happy about the situation either. “The thing that bothered me most was the way Alex Trebek and the producers treated my son. They were kind of smug,” his father, Thomas Hurley II, told CNN on Sunday night. “It’s a kid’s tournament! Everyone knew what he meant.” His mother also commented on the embarrassment that her son experienced saying, “He felt embarrassed. It was hard to watch.”

“Jeopardy!” producers are standing by their decision. “If Jeopardy! were to give credit for an incorrect response (however minor), the show would effectively penalize the other players. We love presenting young people as contestants on our show, and make every effort to be fair and consistent in their treatment.”

Social media sites are buzzing with comments, some criticizing Trebek, while other loyal viewers are supporting his decision.

Alex Trebek Nearly Brings Eighth Grader to Tears
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  • ron

    so are adults and kids to have different rules in life? No, that is why kids that kill and are 12 get charged with murder, fair is fair no matter the age!

    • Olivia

      Why are you comparing spelling something wrong, with murder?

  • http://webpronews.com bedeviled

    Little cry baby loser

  • Dominique Swain

    Alex Trebk is an arrogant turd.. I LOVE Jeopardy but when Trebek says Guatalahara or Aguilera with the accent he presumes a local would use, c’mon. Christina was born in Staten Island New Jersey, and spent most of her formative years in Philly. Put it to rest. So what I suggest, shy of everyone in the audience egging his impeccable brown suits is that we put HIM in the hot seat and see how much trivia he actually knows. We put him in a bathtub (in his suit) SUPER comfortable, 98 degrees, in fact, and for every answer he gets wrong (despite his ridiculous outfit,) we raise the tub ten degrees.

    • Robert Hiddemen

      The answer is “This is where Cristina Aguilera spent here formative years.” The question…What is Pittsburgh? If you are going to criticize anyone, you need to have your facts straight.

    • CW

      Guadalajara. The kid got it wrong, because the spelling error changes the pronunciation, thus changing the answer. The parents are making a huge deal out of it, as are many of other people, and it’s ridiculous. The fact that this is basically front page news on Yahoo is even more ridiculous. I bet the parents are truly enjoying their fifteen minutes of fame.

    • Pat

      Staten Island is in New York…you’d have gotte that one wrong also.

  • Barbara

    Few realize that Alex T. was a grade school teacher before taking this position as a game show host. He was trained professionally in fairness. Tears are part of losing sometimes. The real disappointments here are the parents who failed to help their child accept the ruling and lose graciously.

    • Jamie

      Unfortunately in this day, lots of parents raise their kids to believe they should get a trophy for losing.

  • marilyn mmoffatt

    as unfortunate as this may sound those are the rules that are part of jeopardy. many adults have said a word wrong or spelled it wrong and lost because of it even though it seemed like the correct answer. Just because he was in the 8th grade doesn’t exempt him from the rules . I do feel bad for him but I am sure he was aware of this rule when he went on the show. Alex Trebek was just doing his job.

    • reesa

      Exactly! He’s definitely not the first that it’s happened to and he won’t be the last. The only reason anyone is making anything of this is because it’s an 8th grader. If it were an adult, nothing. If it were a celebrity, talk show hosts would be making fun of them. Not everyone in this world can be winners, not everyone deserves a ribbon. The kid got to be on Jeopardy! How many other kids can say that. Plus, the $3000 would have made no difference. The kid that won had over $60k.

  • http://amiright Kelly Green

    Which kid from Charlie and the Chocolate factory does this kid remind you of most?

    • http://Facebook Dee

      The young spoiled bratty female

  • pheth

    A sign of our times. The attitude that children will be hurt psychologically if they lose or are not as good as the next guy has caused a generation of young adults who expect to be told they are the greatest. They don’t understand some people are smarter, better at a sport, can spell better or do math better than they do because they have been told its ok. This young man learned a hard lesson early on. He will be better able to cope with his boss handing back a report and telling him to do it over because of the spelling error. Stick to your rules Jeopardy.

  • bluebird

    The kid in question didnt “almost come to tears”. Did anyone happen to watch as the credits were rolling after the show. He was angry not in tears. He had his arm crossed & when his mother touched his shoulder he jerked his arm away. He was a sore loser & it showed in the credits. Hey kid rules are rules. If you 12 or not. Just like on last nights show a contestant was elimanted for incorrect spelling. He would of come in 2nd no matter what. This kid was taught a valuable lesson. Dont be a sore loser. You dont see Xan complaining, do you? Go Alex. Keep up the good work. Many more years to come.

    • HU

      This is what happens when you give kids leeway after leeway. To the count of THREE ETC. IF he accidentally misspelled a word, then he is WRONG. With this type of training, when he is older, he will get into trouble over and over and over. This is where it all starts. What about the bridge engineer put a decimal point in the wrong place???? Oooooops. We can just rebuild the ten million dollar bridge. Be responsible and take it like a man. YOU SPELLED IT WRONGGGGGGGGGG KID.

      • Diane

        Yes, the kid did spell it wrong granted “BUT” it was very obvious, unless your a complete idiot, that he knew the right answer. I think the decision is utterly ridiculous and this kid should not have been punished for spelling it wrong. Alex Trebek read the answer as if the kid didn’t have the right answer….give me a f***** break!

        • Rich

          You left the “g” out of f*****. This is why you have all nays and no invite to Jeopardy.

        • http://yahoo kent

          Your post will not be considered for the following reasons;
          sentence structure- you did not put a comma between wrong and granted
          incorrect usage of your. It should hve been “you’re a complete idiot” sorry.
          Also, the incorrect tense was used when you described the decision is utterly ridiculous, It should have been written as a decision “was” utterly ridiculous.

          How’s that?
          Your welcome. I mean “you’re” welcome. I mean I “meant” You’re welcome.

    • janet

      absolutely, i watched the show, and i did not get the impression that alex was smug, but i saw that the kid was being a kid, and a sore loser at that.

    • http://Facebook Dee

      Yes I saw that the kid was very upset at the end, and if Alex was being a smug he wouldn’t have paused the game right then and their to explain why he didn’t get the answer correct because o the misspelling. What bothered me more is that the young African American girl didn’t even come close as she said “What Is The Second Amendment?” Seriously??? Being brought up as a young black male that was one of the first things I learned. Either way the kid was upset with his arms crossed wanting no one to touch him and giving Alex dirty looks. I would have whispered something in his ear to make him straighten up quick!

    • Michele

      I saw the show too and the kid acted like a little turd! He spelled the word wrong and that is the rule in Final Jeopardy. He was obviously never taught about losing… “Little Lord Fauntleroy the Third”…… He was so angry that he wouldn’t even participate during the credits. Standing there with his parents with his arms crossed. He needs a good kick in the behind and be told to “man up.”

    • Evelyn Lawless

      I see most jeopardy shows and I felt or rather feel that the boy may have been from Newtown and I am a Connecticut resident that we here in CT do not hold any rights to be felt sorry for (the Newtown killings will always be a sorry time in our world) but rules are rules, even for the young. I myself have had to check my spelling many time in this comment and my typing as I am getting older. In other words, man up.

    • benjovi33

      Give the kid a break, he’s only 8 years old!! He has every right to be upset and so do the parents!! Alex needs to be more like Regis when kids are on the show and sugar coat them in times like this.

      • Dee

        No, he was in 8th grade, not 8 years old. Rules are rules, and the kid still won money.

      • Terri LaValle

        This young man needs to learn to play a game by the rules. He may not like it, but the rules are there for a reason. Make an exception for him and they will have to make exceptions for everybody. You win some, you lose some. It’s called life. The boy better learn that now………..

    • skootie

      I agree. Rules are rules. If an adult spells a respoonse incorrectly on final Jeopardy, he, too, is penalized. It’s part of the game. Put on your big kid undies and DEAL WITH IT.

  • Red Rocket

    Welcome to the modern world
    The squeaky wheel gets the grease

    Now everyone wants to squeaky

  • Jonny

    You lost kid. Get over it.

  • Jill

    Once again we are teaching our kids that “ALMOST” is good enough. It is NOT good enough and not EVERYONE is a winner. Time to face reality here. It is always wrong if it’s spelled wrong. Now you want a special exception so your kid can feel better about himself?????? Pathetic – and the reason these kids can’t get jobs when they try to make it in the real world. You are not doing your kids any favors here people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Teach them to butch up and deal with reality.

  • ccredux

    What if he had written “Whats the emancipation proclamation.” He left out an apostrophe and did not capitalize two words and left out the “?”.He would get the $3000, right? What’s the difference??We all know what his answer means, regardless of spelling.

  • Karin Browne

    The kid seems to be a spoiled and overindulged brat. Whether it was carelessness or not, the fact remains that he spelled the word WRONG – simple as that. Take it as a valuable life-lesson, learn from it and MOVE ON !!!

  • James

    What with all the scum bags on tv and in sports Alex is a prince among men. If some spoiled brat cant spell it is not his fault. Rules are rules. Of course most of you under 40 don’t understand that.

  • Virginia Hurley

    I feel sure Alex or someone in a responsible position give the rules before the contestants ever go on camera. In Final Jeopardy the answers must be EXACT. If a word was misspelled, it wasn’t correct. Just this week a woman put an apostrophe instead of the last letter in her answer. She LOST because her answer was wrong! They are fair to EVERYONE, and children shouldn’t be an exception. The questions put to them are for their level of education and knowledge. That is just sour grapes, and it will not bode well for that child in the future if his parents take issue.

  • suzi

    I am an avid Jeopardy watcher and even adults misspelled answers are accepted. What is right for one ought to be right for all? Alex has been arrogant forever and it is time to replace him. He wastes so much time between questions with his corrections, slow speech, and general demeanor. Bring on a new host.

  • Belle

    In all the years I have watched “Jeopardy”, Alex Trebek has told contestants that they never penalize for incorrect spelling. Why was this child made an exception? Shame on you.

  • Virginia Hurley

    His answer was WRONG. A misspelled word is WRONG. Just this week a woman answered correctly in Final Jeopardy, but put an apostrophe insgtead of the final letter in her answer. It was WRONG. This child’s parents are doing him a disservice by claiming he was cheated. He needs to learn that “a little bit wrong” is WRONG.

  • Ray Woods

    “I was pretty upset that I was cheated out of the final Jeopardy! question,” he told The News-Times of Danbury. “It was just a spelling error.”…………………I think the statement he made, “It was just a spelling error.” means a misspelling, as well as admitting to misspelling the word/words given. So why is their a debate about it…I guess next years National Spelling Bee will not have a winner.

  • http://yahoo barbara

    okay who really wanted the money and what a way to teach a child about good loser , of course the parents had a lot to sasy they lost out on as good thing, I watch this prograsm sand asdults even screw up and sre told, tell them to get a life outside their child

  • Virginia Hurley

    Belle, I recall hearing Alex say that in FINAL Jeopardy! the answer must be exact–no misspelled words and must be legible. I, too, have watch Jeopardy for many years–since its inception, in fact.

  • phyllis

    So…what if one contestant’s question was “What is the Gettysburg Address?”, and the other contestant’s question was “What is the Marshall Plan?”? Would the child in question still have been penalized for having the correct question incorrectly spelled?

  • Maxwell Hammis

    Holy cow! I watched episodes of Jeopardy where that darn pen screwed up, the question looked like chicken scratch and Alex gave the player credit for a question that was indecipherable. C’mon, now. Be consistent with the rules.

  • James M

    Alex doesn’t make the call – The judges do! And it isn’t the first time, or the last that an answer is wrong for miss-spelling. Last night a woman was counted wrong for leaving off the “G” at the end of one word in her answer. Rules are rules!

  • Austin

    These kids are young Geniuses that are picked for the show and I am sure that they are briefed of all the rules “Including Spelling Errors” prior to playing.

  • K in SC

    It reminded me of an episode of Big Bang Theory where Sheldon loses the physics bowl. He could not believe that he didn’t know an answer and has a fit. This was a fit. The media is trying to make this into something it is not. This is a child who thought that he could get a different result if he posted his grievances online. When in fact, the opposite has been true. Basically all comments have told the child that he lost, get over it, and move on with life. Next time perhaps he will spell “emancipation” correctly. This is not Alex Trebek’s or Jeopardy’s fault.

  • Jane

    To begin with this is a child that was put on public display. The other a grown man and I guess a Father himself. He did not need to treat the child as such.The Bible says you must love children are you will not reach the gates of Heaven. Perhaps we all need to pray for the game show host.

  • Bob Peer

    Trebek is a JERK and should get fired or at the very least retire.

  • casey

    YES, the child is a VERY SORE loser. And the article is designed to “whip up” controversy since the media is only interested in something it can sensationalize. Alex is and has ALWAYS done a FINE job. Actually we saw the show too. Our opinion is that the child acted like a “BRAT” as well as a sore loser. If the child was smart enough to go on the program then he was smart enough to know he misspelled the answer! The child “blew it”, he knows it and wants to get credit for what he meant NOT what he wrote. We say “NO WAY”. STOP giving this “brat” publicity. His head seems big enough already!
    P.S. As things are now the media will probably try to whip this up into some kind of story that makes Alex a “Bully”. If so that would really PO a lot of people since we know he is not. Gesh none of these people now a days would have lasted 5 min. in the past; peoples’ skin is too thin today. They whine about everything.

  • winston phelps

    you have to admire the kid for his ambitious nature to go on “jeopardy” but maybe he should have started a little lower==like a spelling bee

  • marian prelosky

    Reason why I don’t watch Jeopardy? Alex Trebek. What a dirtbag!

  • Judy Jetson

    Misspelling a word on Jeopardy means you got it wrong. Those are the rules, PERIOD. This kid wasn’t cheated out of anything, he lost. The entire family is enabling a sore loser. America is ridiculous.

  • Ron

    Once again the media blows this way out of proportion. Rules are meant to be followed. Sure the little brat knew the right answer, but !!HE SPELLED IT WRONG !! See statement about rules above. This does not make the kid a loser, but it gives his parents an opportunity to teach the little brat that when you make a mistake, you are the only one who has to accept responsibility for it. Accept, learn, grow. Alex T did his job. Go Alex!

    • http://WebProNews Jerome Mercurio

      Last time i checked, this was NOT a Spelling Bee, he got the answer right, but misspelled the word,
      hell there adults out there who don’t know what the document is, much less spell it!!!

  • Mary Linderoth

    I am so happy to see so many comments regarding being a good loser. I too agree that we are raising a generation of kids that don’t know how to lose and even worse if they are corrected they see it as humiliation. I have two teenage daughters and I will not let them be sore losers. They understand that they are not always going to win at everything they do and more importantly life is not always fair. Their dad and I have also taught them that as long as they give 100% that is all we ask of them and things will work out. I still do not understand how he thinks he was cheated out of $3000 since he would have come in 2nd place regardless of whether he was ruled right on that question and would still have walked away with the 2nd prize of $2000 (unless he thought that was unfair as well).

  • Roger

    Ruling was correct, kids need to start spelling better and be set as an example…

  • JUDI


  • LaVonne

    I’m with Alex.
    He should have spelled it correctly.

  • Manuel Lagda

    Hey “adults and parents”. Grow up, and even so, before the kids do. The boy was embarrassed for his wrong spelling. It is a natural reaction, one that teaches him a lesson and he’ll remember all his life. As the saying goes “We learn by our mistakes”. More so, we remember our mistakes more than our correct ones. He wouldn’t have gotten higher than the 2nd place even if he got it right. Alex is never smug. He is always fair, and more than that final decisions are given by the producers (seen this a lot of times during the show). Parents making an issue of this just distorts the kids’ sense of value.

  • David

    Welcome to the real world kid. What is right it right, what is wrong is wrong. Spell the word right and you are right. Teachers, Parents, Youth Sports make your world a fluffy feelgood place, until you get out of HS and/or College, then you meet the real business world, where you make a big mistake you get fired.
    Alex Trebek taught you the best lesson you will ever learn, get it right.

  • Lisa

    I think the kid is being a sore loser and should have been pinched for pouting on tv the way he did. I also believe that the show screwed him over! So what if he mispelled the word, He had the right answer! But oh well, obviously that is a rule that is not always enforced! Sorry kid!

  • Trish

    Instead of coddling that boy, his parents should be explaining to him why the answer was considered wrong and teaching him good sportmanship, he acted like a spoiled brat while the credits were running, pulling away from his mother when she tried to comfort him. If they gave an exception here, they would have to continue to do so for others. Rules are rules, regardless of age.

  • http://thelexingtonstreetsweeper.blogspot.com The Lexington Streetsweeper

    If the child had been given credit for a “slight misspelling” and the $3000 dollars added to his total he would have STILL placed second, taken home $2000 in winnings and learned NOTHING. His parents may be failing him royally.

  • http://yahoo joyce

    Haven’t watched it since and probably wont’ again. Since when did Jeopardy become a spelling content? Absolutely, totally, unfair.

    • Dlk

      See that’s my point too. It’s not a spelling bee. The entire game is made up of verbal questions and answers, so spelling doesnt apply. Why should it apply in the final. I dont get this part. The answer was correct. Heck most of these adults on these posts who say the kid should admit he was wrong, blah blah, they couldnt even hold up in auditions for the show. Those kids are smarter then most of the grown ups on here who sound ticked off just because they have nothing in life. I never like Alex T. and so I dont watch it. He’s a jerk.

      • Mike

        It applied to the final because that is how the rules are. Is that really a difficult concept to grasp?

    • Mike

      Joyce, who said anything in life is fair? But this isn’t about fair, it’s about following the rules in this game AND in life. It’s about the kid saying he was disappointed he didn’t spell it correctly, not throwing the blame for his mistake on someone else. You teach someone it’s ok not to follow the rules and what do you get? Obviously someone like you who thinks rules shouldn’t apply.

  • ifyuonlynu

    Give the kid a break.He thinks he was right so applaud him standing up for hisself.What happens next will determine how much of a man he will be in the future. I,for one would like to see him admit he was wrong and accept the outcome in public. If he really thinks about it he can only come up with one decision. This country needs for men. Will he be one,or will he be another smart -ss in the crowd like I see here in some of these responses?

    • Mike

      It’s one thing to stand up for yourself when someone has wronged you, it’s a totally different story when you try to put the blame for your own mistake on someone else; That’s not standing up for yourself, that’s ducking responsibility. What the kid needs to take from this is how to be responsible and culpable for his own actions.

  • Maria

    These kids today think we owe them the world. ItS called ENTITLEMENT..!!!
    If more parents stopped defending their loser children and allowed their kids to take responsibility for their actions, this country would be a better placed…!!! PARENTS…It was spelled wrong and it is wrong, those are the rules..!!! Suck it up and teach your child a lesson..!!!

  • Maria

    These kids today think we owe them the world. ItS called ENTITLEMENT..!!!
    If more parents stopped defending their loser children and allowed their kids to take responsibility for their actions, this country would be a better placed…!!! PARENTS…It was spelled wrong and it is wrong, those are the rules..!!! Suck it up and teach your child a lesson..!!!

  • Maria

    These kids today think we owe them the world. ItS called ENTITLEMENT..!!!
    If more parents stopped defending their loser children and allowed their kids to take responsibility for their actions, this country would be a better placed…!!! PARENTS…It was spelled wrong and it is wrong, those are the rules..!!! Suck it up and teach your child a lesson..!!!

  • Victoria Jennings

    Kids today and so many adults cannot stand to be told no or to be told they have made a mistake. If it happens,thay say they are bi polor or have adhd or some other problem. I know there are many people in the world who are bi polor and adhd but not everyone in the world. Kids need to learn at a very early age they cannot have everything they want. Kids today are spoiled rotten. I work with the public so I see it every day. Hang in there Alex.

  • Dlk

    Okay, maybe I am misunderstanding. Was this a spelling test? I never watch the game but I do have a general idea of how it’s played. Do they have to spell the name correctly to get the points? I mean, what if it was a verbal question/answer like the rest of the game, then this wouldnt apply correct? I dont think he should be counted off for spelling it incorrectly unless it too is a spelling test. I just dont see what the big deal is in anything.

    Alex is old enough to know it’s not what you say it’s how you say it. He does have a stick up his rear, and he could have been nicer about it. I didnt see this game, but I do know that he’s got quite an attitude.

  • stopcrying

    KICK ROCKS KID. You didn’t spell it right, if you try to sound out what you spelled, it doesn’t even sound like emancipation…unless your second t after the p is silent. Stop crying and being a mooch. You lost, FAIR and SQUARE. quit trying to cheat the show outta something that you did not earn.

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